Canada’s Porter Airlines Suspends All Flights

Filed Under: Air Canada, Other Airlines

Porter Airlines, one of the most loved airlines in North America, has just announced that they’ll be suspending operations. While we’ve seen airlines around the globe suspend operations, so far we’ve only seen North American airlines reduce operations, so as far as I know Porter will be the first to shut down completely.

Porter Airlines will stop flying after March 20, 2020

Porter Airlines has announced plans to suspend operations from March 20 through June 1, 2020. The airline believes this timeline will allow the COVID-19 public health crisis to diminish, allowing the airline to effectively restart operations.

The airline has waived change and cancelation fees for all flights, should any customers want to get home on short notice before Porter suspends operations.

As Porter Airlines’ CEO explains in a note:

“The speed of developments related to COVID-19 is shocking. It is having an unprecedented impact around the globe on businesses, economies and people.

Porter supports the efforts of the Canadian, U.S. and global authorities in their responses. Government actions make it apparent that restricting activities by people in all communities is what’s required to keep everyone healthy, and ultimately to end this fast-spreading pandemic.”

What is Porter Airlines, anyway?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Porter Airlines, the airline has a fleet of 29 Bombardier Q400 aircraft, and operates primarily out of Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport, which is the airport closest to the city.

View from Billy Bishop Airport

The airline operates to about two dozen destinations, most of which are in Canada, though they also have some transborder service, including to Boston, Newark, and Washington Dulles, among other markets.

While many people may not love turboprops in general, Porter is known for their friendly employees and great service — all snacks and drinks (including alcohol) are free, and are even served in glassware.

Drinks & snacks on Porter Airlines

You can see my review of a Porter flight from Toronto to Newark here.

Bottom line

Hopefully Porter Airlines makes a return in the not-too-distant future. I feel bad for all the great Porter Airlines employees who will presumably be furloughed over the coming weeks.

With a ban having been announced on non-essential travel between the US and Canada, I imagine this makes Porter’s situation even worse.

  1. This decision makes sense, and I really hope they bounce back when this is over. They are a terrific airline.

  2. I’m not a Porter fanboy. Take away the free alcohol and you’ve got a carrier with a so-so reliability record, some horrendous irrops stories and a pointless loyalty program.

    Porter has been financially on the edge for some time so it’s not surprising that they’re among the first to be downed by COVID. My opinion is not the majority opinion among people I know, but they’re all drinkers 😉

  3. Porter is a fantastic airline however you can easily tell that they want to expand. The issue is that Billy Bishop airport is their trump card. They can’t possibly compete with the much larger airlines out of Pearson. Porter are so committed to Billy Bishop that there’s very little chance they will expand unless the airport expands first. I was looking forward to them getting A220’s (Cseries at the time) but the airport was never expanded so it never happened.

  4. I’m with @DenB, in that I haven’t had such great flights with Porter.

    The flight attendants’ retro-ish uniform is cute, and having free drinks served in glassware is nice. But the light meals Porter used to serve are long gone; now it’s just the usual snacks in bags.

    It would be pleasant if the cabin crew members smiled occasionally. They often seem really fatigued, as though they’re nearing the end of a very long duty-day.

    Most troubling for me is that my recent Porter flights have been significantly delayed. And lastly, I’d be quite happy to never again fly for two hours in a Q400, an aircraft I’ve never warmed-to.

  5. Porter is great. It’s too bad JetBlue’s “code share” with them really isn’t a code share. Buying the tickets separately is fine, though, except for the points loss, because you have to go through security at Logan for connections one way or another anyways

  6. I love flying with porter, they are very courteous. I suffer from migraines and they moved me to a different seat, no questions asked. Very helpful polite crew.

  7. We really like Porter and fly very regularly from Toronto to Halifax. We hope they return to regular duty soon, so we can return home from Halifax.

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